What to do with hard flavorless tomatoes?

OK - I bought 2 boxes of "vine ripened" tomatoes because they were on sale.  We were going to share them with 2 other households.  Before doing so however, we cut through one and found that they were very hard and were not juicy at all.  Now, I am embarrassed to give some of these away because the quality is so bad (they look so perfect and red but have zero flavor).  I'm wondering if just keeping them on the counter for a few days would help them but I'm not so sure.  My mom had the same problem also, and after sitting on the counter for over a week - the tomato is still hard.  Now, what should I do with 2 boxes of these?  I would hate to throw them out and I'm not into canning.  Does anyone have any idea how to salvage them?  I'm thinking of cooking them in a pasta dish or something, but I've never cooked tomatoes that were so hard, dry and bland and I'm not sure it would be good in a dish like this anyway.

What a waste...sigh...

Does anyone have any useful suggestions?

12 Answers

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  • 1 month ago
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  • 1 month ago

    Cooking is a good solution but you can also chop them up and mix them with chopped onions and put some Italian dressing on them and put them in a salad with your favorite ingredients. 

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  • 1 month ago

    You can buy tomatoes that are perfectly red and still not ripened--because they use gas to make them LOOK red. They are not shipped RIPE--they are shipped green and gassed. Always smell a tomato before you buy it--a ripe tomato smells like a tomato--an unripe one has very little smell. 

    As to what to do with them?  Make SALSA. They will be perfect for that! Chop them to a medium dice, add peppers, chili powder, onion, garlic and whatever else you like in salsa--(maybe even small chunks of ripe pineapple!) and then cook it until the taste is how you prefer it--hot, or mild.  When it's done, you can put the salsa into clean pint mason jars, the kind with the screw tops and flat lids inside--then you immerse the jars into boiling water for 20 minutes. Canning sauces with tomato is so easy--you don't need a pressure canner or any fancy equipment, because tomato sauce won't spoil. Just boil the jars and remove them, then wait until the lid depresses in the middle--you may even hear it when it does. Let them cool, tighten the rings, and presto--fresh salsa for gifts, or for whenever you want it. 

    In fact, if you did want to make tomato sauce with them, the preserving method is the same as for the salsa. All you ever need to do with tomatoes when you home-can is to water-bath them. But unripened hard tomatoes don't make good sauce like they do salsa. 

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  • 1 month ago

    Give them to a homeless shelter. My Italian grandmother would have thrown then out.

    Or maybe the tomatoes aren't fully ripened yet?

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  • 1 month ago

    Before you do anything else, look for a recipe for fried green tomatoes. The tomatoes you describe could be great fried with traditional batter. In the South, the dish is not a joke. In Greenville in the Carolinas, there's a restaurant named for them.

    • Nikki P
      Lv 7
      1 month agoReport

      tomato pie is also an option

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  • 1 month ago

    Throw them away. I would. 

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  • 1 month ago

    Yes, they might still ripen on the counter. Failing that, roast them. Toss them with olive oil and generous salt and pepper and roast on a sheet pan about 30 mins, quartered.

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  • Anonymous
    1 month ago

    In addition to the other answers you've received, I wanted to add a tip for buying tomatoes:

    Smell them.   If they smell like nothing, they will often taste like nothing.

    • ...Show all comments
    • Barbara1 month agoReport

      Unfortunately, these were boxed and sealed with plastic wrap so I couldn't smell them...but as the reviewer above says - in the future, once the quarantine is over I will do so

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  • 1 month ago

    they may not be completely ripe. Some tomato producers artificially ripen them with a chemical that turns them red. ALSO, store tomatoes are bred for sturdiness not flavor..no matter how they are ripened. why not simply stash them in a cool dark place for a few days and see if they change at all. You  may be surprised. We got a big box of those from the food pantry and they were like red baseballs...in about a week or so, sitting on the dining room table away from windows, they softened and juiced up. We think they finally ripened.

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  • 1 month ago

    You can ripen them by placing them, do a few at a time, in a brown bag.  Adding an apple will cause them to ripen faster.

    I also use to cut them in half, squeeze or pull out the seeds and roast them until the skins blistered.  I used them for making Tomato Soup.  Roasting brings out some more flavor but they are still not as good as the real ripe ones. 

    If you can't use them all give them away like you planned.  The people you give them to will appreciate it.  Just tell them they seem to be a bit under ripe.  They can search ideas as well. If you are giving them away no one has any reason to be ungrateful.

    By the way you can just put tomatoes in a freezer bag and put them in the freezer.  When they thaw they will get mushy but the skins will slip off and you can use them for sauce.  No blanching and peeling in advance

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  • kswck2
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    Put them into a brown paper bag and place on the window sill for a couple of days. 

    • ckngbbbls
      Lv 7
      1 month agoReport

      skip the window sill. in the bag, the extra light won't help anyway.

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